Inspectors urge new managers of a probation service in Wales to keep raising standards

The new owners of a probation service in Wales should make further changes to improve their work with offenders and better protect the public, according to inspectors.

HM Inspectorate of Probation conducted a routine inspection of the organisation formerly known as the Wales Community Rehabilitation Company (CRC). The CRC supervises around 9,000 low and medium-risk offenders; some are preparing to leave or have left prison, while others are serving community or suspended sentences. The Inspectorate has given the CRC an overall rating of ‘Requires improvement’.

Earlier this year, Wales CRC’s previous owners went into administration. Since February, it has been managed by Seetec, a private limited company which also runs probation services in Kent, Surrey and Sussex.

Chief Inspector of Probation Justin Russell said: “We found the CRC’s work was of mixed quality and some practices, including the way staff manage risk of harm, need to improve considerably.

“There are many challenges to addressing offending issues in Wales. These reflect a complex mixture of urban and rural environments, geographical and transport constraints, and the diverse needs of the people living and working in Wales. Our inspection found Seetec, the new owners, are fully aware of these issues and are managing the transition process well.”

Inspectors found a sufficient range of community-based and specialist services in place, including services for women. They also found team managers and professional staff have high workloads, which dilutes the attention given to providing effective services.

Mr Russell said: “The CRC works well with other agencies to design and deliver services on an all-Wales basis. This has seen innovation in some aspects of practice.

“However, more can be done to manage the risk of harm to keep potential and actual victims safe. Staff did not seek information from other agencies – such as the police or children’s social services – to support their assessments in two-thirds of inspected cases. Important information about domestic or child abuse incidents could have been missed, and potential victims and their families may not have been protected adequately.”

Mr Russell said: “Staff want to improve the lives of individuals under probation supervision and to contribute to their rehabilitation. They work hard to support individuals with the everyday challenges they face.

“The new owners have an opportunity to review and improve the way the organisation operates, and to raise the standard of offender management. More effective probation will support rehabilitation and help individuals to avoid further offending, and improve public protection.”


Notes to editor

1. The report is available at on 03 July 2019 00.01.
2. HM Inspectorate of Probation is the independent inspector of youth offending and probation services across England and Wales.
3. There are 21 Community Rehabilitation Companies across England and Wales responsible for supervising low and medium-risk offenders.
4. Working Links previously owned three CRCs: Wales; Dorset, Devon and Cornwall; and Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire. Working Links went into administration in February 2019 and Seetec took over these three CRCs.
5. The organisation formerly known as Wales CRC is currently known as the Wales division of Kent, Surrey and Sussex CRC.
6. Fieldwork for this inspection took place in February 2019 and included cases and working practices that took place under the previous owners.
7. The CRC provides probation services within a legal and policy framework set by the Welsh government.
8. For media enquiries, please contact Head of Communications Catherine Chan on 07889 405930 or (E-mail address)